Public / private collaboration brings 5G without a tangle of paperwork or cell towers ”Dallas innovates
If you are one of the 35,000 daily drivers who pass Mockingbird Station in Dallas, you may have a lingering question: What is this giant electric toothbrush series doing on Mockingbird Lane?
Well they to see more like steel utility poles with enlarged torsos, but you get the idea.
These are electric poles. But the usefulness they bring, beyond lighting, is not obvious. Under their metallic skin, these poles are bristling with antennas that boost the flow of cellular data in Dallas, improving cellphone reception, speeding up download times, and allowing the City of Dallas to deploy synchronization and traffic controllers. other smart city technologies.
Poles are more than a nifty way of disguising signal boosters: they are key components in establishing ultra-fast 5G wireless data flow, which is used by self-driving cars, advanced traffic control devices and even drones that can save lives drugs or defibrillators to patients who need them.
These towers are also manifestations of a major public / private project involving 32 cities, major telecommunications operators and Crown Castle International Corp., a 25-year-old company that deploys and maintains miles of fiber-optic cable and hundreds of towers and small cells. that extend the internet to homes, businesses, phones and anything else online.
Crown Castle Director of Government Affairs Mandy Derr likens installing 5G small cells in cities to installing indoor lighting in a house.
“Where there are specific areas that need more lighting, you need a desk lamp,” he said. “Small cells add more coverage and capacity to areas that need it. “
New data-hungry technologies (autonomous vehicles and other drones, virtual reality equipment, etc.) require a large amount of data, and 5G connectivity is essential to achieve this (most American consumers are used to 4G connections, found in wireless broadband, which is sufficient for broadband internet, high-definition TV, and live streaming).
Yet installing individual “office lights” – or, indeed, small cells – wherever needed for 5G service could potentially clutter the cityscape. Not to mention that different cellular service providers need their own small cellular antennas.
Not to mention the regulations of each community where these small cells will have to be installed.
There should be a law
The Texas Legislature was one of the first in the country to draft legislation establishing a framework for wireless network companies to work with cities to place small cells on public rights-of-way.
Prior to the passage of SB1004, Crown Castle, Verizon and others working in the wireless space had to navigate a maze of established city-by-city regulations, many of which varied based on local zoning codes and historic neighborhoods and were even competing with traffic signals.
5G technology has developed rapidly in some cities in Texas since the passage of SB1004, according to an analysis by the Texas Comptroller’s Office.
As of November 2020, Dallas was just behind Houston in the number of 5G sites approved.
Derr said demand from the community has prompted Dallas, Houston and others to engage in 5G technology. Cities that install 5G networks will have a vast technological advantage over those that don’t, he added.
Intelligent traffic management technology, which synchronizes brake lights according to traffic patterns, is just one example.
“With the exception of a few cities across the state, what we’ve seen is not that cities have been intentionally slow or reluctant to embrace 5G technology, but rather that capital is naturally flowing to communities where industrial collaboration is sought after and local. 5G enabling technology regulations and policies are easy to navigate, like Dallas and Houston, ”he wrote to Dallas Innovates.
Avoid a forest of towers
Shortly after SB1004 passed, the City of Dallas worked with Crown Castle and mobile phone providers to design the 800 smart poles found on Mockingbird Lane and throughout the city of Dallas, Derr said.
These poles house antennas from several suppliers, not to mention street lighting or other services. They might also be heading to Frisco, which has massive smart city projects.
“Crown Castle and other small cell vendors have worked with the city to help clean up roadside street lighting infrastructure,” wrote Catherine Cuellar, City of Dallas communications director. Factors in the design included the aesthetics of the environment, she added.
In addition, Crown Castle and other small cell providers have chosen to supply power to city equipment at some of the integrated street light pole locations that were part of the Wi-Fi pilot projects in the city. ‘street lighting (of the city), “she wrote to Dallas Innovates.
This power supply enabled the city to quickly deploy public Wi-Fi where it was needed, she added.
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